Contributed by Alex Holder
In misdemeanor cases, expunging records can happen in a majority of cases. But for a felony charge, this process is not nearly as simple. Only in a couple of cases can you expunge or seal your felony record. One possible way is if you’ve been charged under a statute 356 or 590 and plea guilty, along with finishing the requirements of probation and anything else required by the court. After this is completed, a petition for expunging can be made, but it’s still up to the courts’ discretion.
Another possible way to ask for a felony to be expunged is to ask for a governor’s pardon. Here one’s felony case can be petitioned to the state governor for him/her to sign off and approve sealing your criminal record. Both options require an experienced criminal attorney who can guide you through either of these complicated processes.
By law, a misdemeanor is a lesser crime in comparison to a felony. What this means is that a felony can lead to longer times in state jail and larger fines to be paid. A misdemeanor on the other hand has smaller fines and can result in a jail sentence only within a county jail. Felonies range from class A through D, and all have different corresponding sentence lengths and fines. “Y” is another category for felonies, and is given to particularly heinous crimes. There are some unclassified felonies, but very few. Misdemeanors range from A through D, but they have many unclassified cases. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor includes up to 1 year in county jail and a monetary fine.
Whether a case is a misdemeanor of felony, one can expect to be informed of the charges against the defendant and what their constitutional rights are during the first court date. In a felony case, the defendant will also be advised of the maximum penalties of the law for his or her case. Also, the defendant will enter into a plea of guilty or not guilty. In some misdemeanors, a guilty plea can lead to a conclusion and sentence, ending the case quickly. But in all other cases, especially in felony convictions, another court date is set to meet back and continue the case.
Generally in times where you are a suspect in a case and taken in for questioning, it’s best to have your attorney present before saying anything to authorities. It may appear to you that talking can resolve the situation or help your case, but this isn’t guaranteed. When your attorney is present, you may make a statement to the police about the case. Your attorney will make sure what you say isn’t incriminating and is said exactly how it is meant. This being said, you must be properly read your Miranda rights before speaking to the police and it is important to pay attention to whether or not this is done.